Analysis Paper: Students are asked to a choose a myth, ritual, symbol, or image that they would like to analyze in greater detail. Drawing on the various perspectives and theories that we encounter in the course, this assignment provides students with an opportunity to explore and gain a greater understanding of the aspect of religion that they find most interesting. This 8-10 page paper should contain the following elements:
Title: Provide a title for your paper.
Thesis Statement: Within an introductory paragraph, the papers should provide a clearly stated and precise thesis that describes the central argument of the paper. Underline your thesis statement.
Introductory paragraph(s): The opening of the paper should clearly define the scope of the paper, describe the questions you will address, and delineate the structure of your paper. The introduction should place your thesis statement in the broader context of other works on your topic. What are the central themes and issues involved in your topic? Is your thesis controversial? Give the reader some sense of the significance of your paper.
Organization: The paper should be clearly and logically organized, developing as described in the introductory paragraph. Each paragraph should explicitly illumine some aspect of your thesis.
Analysis: Rather than summarizing the content of your sources, harness the findings of your research to defend and nuance your argument. Try to convince the skeptical reader that your interpretation of the material is the most plausible one. Account for evidence that appears to challenge your thesis. Consider the breadth and depth of your topic and construct a reasonable and well-supported scholarly argument.
Methodology: As a researcher, it is important to be self-aware about the method you are employing to study your subject. Describe your approach to the topic under investigation and the types of sources you will consider in your paper. Be clear about the benefits and limitations of your method and choice of material.
Sources: The paper should be thoroughly researched, draw upon primary sources, and be contextualized within the secondary literature (books and journal articles) on the topic. In this way, the reader is clear about both where the paper enters this broader scholarly conversation and its significance.
Citations: The papers should contain citations for each idea or quote that is not the original thought of the student. Students should cite their sources throughout the paper. Students may use the citation format of their choice, but must include the author, title, publisher, year, page number, etc. of the work cited. Include a Bibliography at the conclusion of your paper.
Qualify statements: Students should avoid broad generalizations and qualify statements as necessary.
Areas for Future Research: As part of your conclusion, point the reader to potential areas of future research on your topic, particularly those aspects that were not addressed in your paper, or received only a brief treatment.
Grammar: Students should articulate their thoughts clearly and succinctly. Be sure to check for spelling errors or typos.